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Friday, October 21, 2016

Mikhail Shvydkoi will probably go with the lectures on Ukraine

On Friday, the Russian President’s special representative for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy read out a part of the global plans in the near future for cultural exchange between Russia and the United States, France, Germany, China, Latin America… After all, only dialogue between intellectuals heals tense international atmosphere; it is not surprising that a supposed list of upcoming visits Shvydkoi came and Ukraine.

photo: Artem Makeev

Mikhail Shvydkoi

Mikhail Efimovich, how do you cope with such a single load — after talking about the hundreds of contacts between museums, galleries, educational centres?

— Alas, not easy. The absence of a proper structure that would take care only of political advancement of culture, education etc., that is, in fact, a branch of the Department, of course, complicates the work. After all, today, in a period of political confrontation, partially frozen economic ties, cultural, sport, educational cooperation is working most intensively.

— As the question of cultural cooperation solved in other countries?

— In the United States on the international humanitarian cooperation is spent annually 25 billion dollars through funds, plus 1.5 billion through the State Department. If you take the European experience, the culture Department of the German foreign Ministry (it’s about a hundred employees, half of whom are diplomats of high rank) has a budget of about 900 million euros per year — to promote the German language and a lot more then (and this is in addition to the Goethe Institute, academic exchange etc.). It’s not that money is everything. But in General, foreign cultural activities throughout the civilized world (including China and India) backed by serious resources. Especially today, this segment of foreign policy becomes particularly important. Of course, we have institutions such as Rossotrudnichestvo, Fund “Russian world”, but I’d rather not call the numbers that they exist, against the background of Western amounts is on the verge of statistical error.

— Projects and multitudes?

— Of course. With the United States, for example, cultural ties did not weaken, even though the process of the Schneerson library. Interesting fact: at the Metropolitan Opera is running a 30% Russian (on permanent contracts or as a guest)…

Next. 9 Jun launched the Year of youth exchanges with Germany. Now we are preparing the exhibition “1917”, which will open at the State historical Museum in Berlin. For this we have right of the first night (before her show in Germany) display in our Historical Museum in 2018 of the exhibition devoted to the Weimar Republic. Then making an exhibition of Rilke and Tsvetaeva… Activity and the intensity of cultural exchanges with Germany is very high. You can not say about the economic cooperation.

With Greece we are waiting for some significant events. A large exhibition of the Hermitage in Greece, the exhibition of icons of the Tretyakov gallery, tour of the Vakhtangov theatre Rimas Tuminas at the Greek theatre puts its new performance.

Russian spiritual and cultural center in Paris (opening fall 2016).

France must open our Spiritual center (Paris, October). And then there will be an unprecedented exhibition: the collection of Shchukin, taken from the collections of the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum im. Pushkin, will be presented by the Fondation Louis Vuitton in their new Museum in the Bois de Boulogne. By the way, with the French, we declared the Year of cultural tourism. In the framework of the Hermitage will hold an exhibition devoted to Peter, and we look forward to a great exposition on medieval France (to be held in the Kremlin Museums).

24 June in Brussels offers a highly important exhibition called “Europe 1945-1968” (it took three of the Museum: in addition to the European — from Brussels and Karlsruhe — our smfa. Pushkin).

Coming exchanges with China, actively develop joint projects. In Shanghai will open a multifunctional branch of the Russian Museum (a very successful practice, and here it is possible to remember the branch in Malaga, Spain, which became an important cultural center). By the way, in Spain a few universities will hold a number of lectures.

— Previously announced information, you can visit lectures of Kiev, — whether so it?

— I received an informal invitation to go to Ukraine and deliver a series of lectures, meeting with the creative intelligentsia. It is the result of a process that we began in Minsk; and the last time we met in April on the anniversary of Chernobyl, was just talking about how nice it would be to celebrate the 145th anniversary of Lesya Ukrainka. And in this regard, our Ukrainian partners (the cultural Foundation under the chairmanship of Boris Oleynik) invited me for talks and lectures and at the same time to read. I must say that I have received for this initiative of the Minsk furious a bunch of articles on the Ukrainian side (say, tempt the Ukrainian intelligentsia). Now have to weigh how effective will be this visit of mine, but it is likely that he still held.

I was invited to read lectures at the Museum. Shevchenko, at the Theatre Institute. June 22 will be a memorable date round the beginning of the war, and I was asked to give a lecture on military literature. This can cause increased interest. For example, Viktor Platonovich Nekrasov was, incidentally, a Kiev resident. A Ukrainian writer Alexander Korneichuk wrote the famous play “the Front” — a sharp and dramatic phenomenon at the time. I think that, most likely, will go.

— And what stops?

— Only one thing causes a lot of doubts. On the one hand, I was invited to read a lecture, and on the other — my colleagues, representing the Russian journalism, declared persona non grata. They are my colleagues do — I write a column in the newspaper, produce a program on television, I am the Chairman of the Board of taffy. Here, the selectivity can not be. Moreover, in today’s world, to isolate itself from the information from the Russian side is impossible…

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